Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/833

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
811
PRESENT POSITION OF SOCIOLOGY.

are, unfortunately, not recent. They may be found in somewhat different form, but substantially the same in principle, in l'Essai d'education nationale, published by Le Chalotais in 1763. The paper furnishes a programme of studies and education which, if put into execution, would, I believe, constitute a long advance over the present conditions. At a later period Condorcet was occupied with the subject. At the close of the nineteenth century the name of Jean Macé, which I have already cited, should be held among those of men who have tried to infuse sound and just views concerning the pedagogy of mathematics. Another man, from whom I have borrowed a considerable part of the examples I have cited, is Edouard Lucas, who, in his Récréations mathématiques, of which one volume was published during his lifetime and two others after his death, and in his lectures before the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, strove to develop views concerning the primary mathematical education of childhood—views which did not differ, except in form, from those which I have presented.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

 

PRESENT POSITION OF SOCIOLOGY.
By F. SPENCER BALDWIN.

THE present condition of sociological thought is confused, if not chaotic. It needs only a brief examination of the writings of professed sociologists to discover the want of agreement among them. There is no consensus of opinion regarding either the scope and method of the new science, so called, or its fundamental laws and principles. The name sociology stands for no definite body of systematic knowledge. It is applied to an inchoate mass of speculation, often vague and conflicting, which represents the thought of various thinkers about social phenomena.

A few years ago a student of sociology in Chicago wrote to "all the teachers of sociology in the United States, and to others known to be deeply interested in the subject and entitled to express an opinion," asking them to answer a number of pertinent questions regarding the nature and function of the "science."[1] About forty replied; of these, three discreetly pleaded knowledge insufficient to entitle them to an opinion. Comparison of the views expressed in the remaining twenty-seven replies led the investigator to conclude that the science is in a more or less undefined and tentative position.


  1. Present Condition of Sociology in the United States. Ira W. Howarth. Annals of the American Academy, September, 1894.